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HITMAN (1998)

An elderly Yakuza boss faces his own execution at the hands of an unknown assailant, the enigmatic King of Killers. Before he takes the bullet, he threatens his masked executioner with the news that he has $100 million in a special vengeance fund as a bounty on the head of any assassin taking his life. Before his ashes are cold, the most skilled hitmen in the world assemble in Hong Kong to join the hunt for the unknown killer. One such hopeful is Tai Feng (Jet Li). But Tai has a problem he is too good-hearted to kill any of his targets. Lacking both a reputation and a tux, he is barred entry from the elite killer's convention until con man Sam Wong (Eric Tsang) steps in as his agent.

"Whenever I see a Chinese action movie, I always know I will enjoy it; the acting is good, the action scenes are fast paced and brilliant to watch, and the characters always seem to have a very natural feel in front of the camera. Hitman has all this and more, starring Jet Li, from the newly released Lethal Weapon 4, and who also starred in one of my favourite martial arts films "Once Upon a Time in China". His martial arts skills are phenomenal, but he doesn't just rely on them to make the movie - he can also act very well. As is often the case with contemporary Chinese action films, there is also an element of humour in the acting, mainly in character's reactions and expressions, as well as some very funny lines. The plot is original and entertaining, with some interesting twists and turns along the way. The action scenes are there to serve the plot, not the other way around, as is often the case with martial arts films, and they are well choreographed to provide a spectacular, all round performance from the actors."
Sebastian Urban

"If you haven't seen a Hong Kong action film before, do yourself a favour, and check one out. Hitman with Jet Li is probably a good one to start with. The action is fast and thrilling, the humour droll and unexpected, while the flavours of Hong Kong and its characters are rich and reflect local life. Jet Li is terrific and demonstrates his skill; interesting to note how Lethal Weapon 4 has glamorised him somewhat here he looks a little older and more real, as opposed to Hollywood's makeover. Only draw back are the small subtitles, but even if you miss a few words here and there, there's plenty to keep action lovers entertained."
Louise Keller

"Hit Man is terrific fun I guess not everyone is going to rush out and buy this, but its a worthy title to keep on the shelf. For one thing, it will take repeated viewings to get the details; for another, it will stand up to repeated viewings, partly because it is full of humour, and partly because it will take several viewings to untangle some of the furious fight scenes. The depth of acting talent takes this film a notch or two above the standard Hong Kong action flick, and the leading characters take on three dimensions in what is a good story line. Dont let the subtitles put you off."
Andrew L. Urban

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HIT MAN (M15+)
(Hong Kong)

RRP: $55

CAST: Jet Li, Eric Tsung, Simon Yam, Gigi Leung

PRODUCER: Gordon Chan


SCRIPT: Cheung Kan Fu

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

In Cantonese with English subtitles

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